This is Adulthood

uphill

So busy has been an understatement the last few months as I wrapped up grad apps and started back into research. [Fortunately all the stress of the application process turned out to be useful – I’m in! In September I officially start my Masters!!] Don’t get me wrong, I am beyond excited to have been accepted into grad school, but at this point I am mildly terrified. When I moved to Ottawa, I moved close to my brother and my dad’s side of the family so it wasn’t as scary. Looking back on it I feel like I am in the exact same place now as I was then – a room full of boxes and a huge move in the works. Except now I am an Adult. I am expected to be mature enough to not be terrified by the prospect of moving 4 hours from anyone I know. Or you know I think that was tucked somewhere in the fine print of the contract.

So basically I spend my days waffling between:

 Jumping up and down in random places in a fit of exuberance...

YAY GRAD SCHOOL!!! THIS IS SO AWESOME!!! WEEEEEE!!

and…

 Oh wait. I am supposed to be responsible now? I have to know things?!

Oh wait. I am supposed to be responsible now? I have to know things?!

oh my god what

But I mean somewhere in there is me figuring out this whole Adult thing.

I’ve been working for a year with my parents and it still throws me off though when people come to me as a sort of authority in things at work. When people come to me for direction.

This shift back to grad school has always been my plan, but I meant a plan and reality it turns out are two very different things. Now that I have packed up and officially moved out of Ottawa and am actively hunting for apartments, I am coming to realize the identity shift that came with all these plans coming to fruition. I submitted a review of my supervisor’s grant proposal Friday morning and realized that my opinion is being taken into account. I am no longer a passive learner expected to bathe in the glorious knowledge of my professors. I am expected to have an opinion and be able to cogently defend it. I am also expected to know what cogently means (legit – it was a word in the GRE Vocab list). I am expected to further the knowledge of my field and create a sense of confidence in my abilities. I am being trained to help people mentally heal. That’s a lot of responsibility for a lowly twenty-something.

I am now an adult, but what is that? I still have little understanding of how mortgages really work. I don’t understand the benefit of fixed over variable mortgage rates. And I only learned how to drywall two weeks ago.  I was 21 before I learned to change a tire. Living in residence, my basement apartment, and the house I eventually settled in were progressively independent ventures, but this feels different. This is me. Financially independent. Responsible for every bill. Calling around for insurance rates and driving in an overly cautious manner to maximize my insurance discount (and calling them to complain when the guy in front of me slammed on his brakes. But it’s not my faullltttt!). Me, as an adult. 4 hours from literally anyone I know.  On my own.

Like the baby ducklings in front of (back of?) my house - time to do the first solo journey.

Like the baby ducklings in front of (back of?) my house – time to do the first solo journey.

Of course I am filled with paranoia – what if something goes wrong? My toilet is running uncontrollably? My car won’t start? Problem with being in a lot of university programs is that they are great for preparing you for your career. I can talk about psychology for days. I love psych. Problem is that “Quantitative Methods in Psychology I/II” didn’t cover filing your taxes and balancing the budget. There was no “Dealing with minor plumbing problems” or “Why Your Car Won’t Start 101″ in my program. So I am adult, but in many ways I still feel like I am meant to be supervised. It drives me nuts that my mom still reminds me to look both ways before crossing the street and reminds me how to properly wash dishes, but am I totally ready to be a independent responsible adult?

Let’s look at the facts:

  1. Every day I wave hello to the pigmy goats, llamas, and other farm animals on my way to and from work.

    Thank you internet for always providing umpteen billion pictures of cute animals.

    Thank you internet for always providing umpteen billion pictures of cute animals.

  2. I still giggle every time I think of the goat I saw running around the farm yard that skidded in the snow when he attempted to stop.
  3. After searching for a pigmy goat picture to portray the view on my drive to work (did I mention they also have miniature reindeer and big fluffy llamas that sit facing the road?!) I spent a further 10 minutes giggling over photos of baby farm animals.
  4. The closest I have come to doing laundry lately is putting things in the machine and turning it on. The clothes mysteriously appear folded in my room after 24 hours

    Mom went to Mexico for 11 days. It was rough.

    Mom went to Mexico for 11 days. It was rough.

  5. Last week I yelled at my fish for not eating.

    “Why are you sleeping?!” If I ain’t getting nap time ain’t nobody getting nap time!

  6. I cede my pillow to my cat on a nightly basis.

    She looks so happy though.

    She looks so happy though.

  7. I fully believe timbits are an acceptable breakfast.
  8. I haven’t made my bed in 5 days except for the morning after I had a particularly fitful sleep I rearranged the sheets to be at least on the bed.
  9. It took me those 5 days to put away the clothes that had mysteriously appeared the week before.
  10. My carry-on sized suitcase is still half packed because I am too lazy to finish the job (I’m living in box city right now thanks to this half-moved state. What’s one more box?!)
  11. The muffler of my car broke two weeks ago (of course in the middle of no where!) and I had no freaking clue what to do about it, whether it was driveable, or how much it would cost.

Okay so it looks pretty bad, but I mean I’ve lived solo before. I remember to feed the cat (okay, when she very loudly demands I remember. But I remember to buy the food. Mostly.) I’ve got the grocery shopping thing nailed. I can cook and bake things. I know how to do laundry (even if I elect not to do it as frequently as my mother feels I should). Worst case, I know how to make really tasty icing for bad days. Shouldn’t be that bad? [For the record, the dedication to fill the fridge and use its contents to make delicious things are how I rationalize my lack of attention to the laundry. It’s a fair trade.].

Either way, ready of not, here it is. I am an adult. I am expected to pay my taxes, vote (and not just by inni-meeny-minee-moe, using a real, informed opinion), renew licenses and health cards in a timely manner, show up to work on time, to be accountable to something/someone other than my childish whims. They say the devil is in the details, and maybe I haven’t got the sense of responsibility sorted out just yet, but baby steps. You know. Figure out how to do the dishes before I run out of plates.

I am an adult. Hear me roar. Or mew like a kitten.

Yeah. Let’s go with mewing.

At least I figure out that I put on my big girl panties sometime in the last 4 years without noticing.

Whether I realized it or not,  maybe I figured out adulthood a long time ago.

Childhood Classic Meets Sunday Morning Brunch: Peanut Butter & Jam Waffles

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So I started working on a non-food post. I have been running a mile a minute lately, and it sort of hit me. And I wanted to talk about how we all sort of do it. But I mean it has been a delicious couple of weeks here at the Dignard house (who would have thought a new stove would prompt such genius) and it feels unfair that I keep posting photos on Instagram and not sharing the recipes. And these waffles man. So good.

Lately I have been all about comfort food with a twist – brownies loaded with protein and other healthy stuff, butternut squash mac n cheese, zoodles (not the delicious canned pasta of my childhood, zucchini noodle-fied with my new veggie spiralizer, but more on that later) with avocado cream sauce, and now these peanut butter and jam in waffle form.

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Yes. These are a thing. On Amazon. If you live in the United States they are both cheaper and there are more varieties (including cookie dough. I am working on my US Visa now.). I am annoyed that these only come in 22 packs when everywhere else operates with 12 or 24 packs, but still delish.

There is something so wonderfully comforting about a peanut butter and jam sandwich. As an adult I am now expected to be a little more sophisticated in my dining choices. So I find sneaky ways to be a child. Like putting sprinkles in everything (David’s Tea sells tea with sprinkles. I know all the tricks.). And these totally fantastic peanut butter and jelly sandwich coffee kcups I found on Amazon. And, of course, these waffles. I mean they required effort, that’s adult-y…right?

A lot of people find Belgian waffles to be a little intimidating, but these are incredibly easy. I promise. It is practically a requirement for any recipe I share. If I am not convinced my mom could make without me around, I don’t share. So yes, you must be able to whisk things without getting those things on the ceiling, but if you have any sort of coordination (which I don’t), you’ll be fine. I prefer to whisk by hand because it is so liquid-y at the beginning and I don’t have a strong desire to scrape peanut butter off the ceiling, but I have used mixers, it works too. The difference you will notice, which is something I enjoyed, is that by hand mixing, you will still have some small pockets of peanut butter in the batter. This translates to little nuggets of peanut butter and jam throughout the waffles. Yum much? The beaters would probably mix so thoroughly that those chunks would be gone. Just be careful when you’re mixing the flour in that those chunks are peanut butter not flour chunks. Lumpy waffles are not good waffles.

As an added bonus – waffles can be easily frozen and reheated later for a quick breakfast – just turn the waffle iron down a bit so the waffles are just slightly undercooked, separate them and freeze in baggies. When you are ready to eat them simply pop them in the freezer like an Eggo. I told you – I am lazy in the morning. And with some effort on the weekend when “morning” can start at noon, you can be lazy Monday morning too!

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Ingredients:

  • 2 1/4 cups flour
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter (or more if you want it)
  • 2 cups milk (I used skim because that’s all we have, but buttermilk would also be amazing!)
  • 2 tbsp sugar (brown sugar works well too)
  • 1/3 cup butter, melted (or oil)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/3 cup jam
  • 1/2 cup chopped peanuts

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Directions:

  1. Preheat your waffle iron. If using a Cuisinart Breakfast Station (waffles on top omelettes/pancakes on the bottom!) set it to 3 1/2, 3 if you plan on making these and freezing them (which is what we usually do with half the waffles).
  2. Combine dry ingredients in a bowl and set aside.
  3. Combine milk, peanut butter, sugar, and melted butter until smooth. Add in the eggs and beat in.
  4. Mix in the flour mixture, being careful to not over-mix. Fold in the peanuts and jam to get the swirl.
  5. Pour scoops into waffle iron and follow your iron’s instructions. IMG_20150308_102325

Enjoy! And remember…

men don't grow up

Sugar Free Protein Brownies (a.k.a. What Happens When I Get Desperate and Bake in the Ancient Stove)

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Guys this kitchen is killing me.

When my boyfriend walked into this kitchen he promptly informed me “I’ve seen ghettos with nicer kitchens.”

We recently moved, and let’s just say a kitchen reno was top of the to do list. Except we’ve been here almost 2 months and still haven’t ordered anything other than the stove. Which my mother has called a gift for me, and even though I won’t get to take it with me, it really is a gift for me. She knows how I feel about our circa 1960’s stove.

At the same time, grad apps have been very busy/stressful. Which since it’s been too cold to run (I missed easing myself into the cold and now I am a lazy runner) means I really have been itching to bake.

Alas. My recently fool-proofed scone recipe (coming very soon!) was not match for this stove.

My Apple Skor Cheesecake tragically fell prey too. The delicious cookie crust topped with apples and a rich skor cheesecake layer never stood a chance.

At this point I was ready to throw in the spatula and resign myself to frigid winter runs. And then came along the Oh She Glows cookbook! Hallelujah for no-bake recipes.  The cookbook includes 2 recipes for Glo Bars, I took the Classic recipe (exclusive to the cookbook from what I can tell – but I am not vegan and am in love with it! Go buy it. I will wait.), since I couldn’t find brown rice syrup I used a combo of maple syrup (1/4c), agave syrup (2T), and water (1.5T) per the internet’s recommendations. I also have a serious hate on for coconut so I used 1/4 cup cashews and I didn’t read so I ended up adding a quarter cup of cranberries (instead of the 2T sesame seeds. Me and sesame seeds don’t get along either).
My grandparents even liked them! Like asked to take some home level liked them. They find most of what I eat strange (for the record they find a lot of the new food trends like avocado and sweet potatoes odd). So you know they’re good.

Glo Bars a la city villager

Glo Bars a la city villager

As delicious as they were though, they were almost too easy. I needed to bake. Actually bake. With my crappy oven and newly purchased healthy ingredients. (I love sweets, but I have been trying to find healthy but still yummy baked goods recipes).

I am incredibly lazy in the mornings. Which means that I usually sleep as late as possible. Which means that I end up rushing around trying to get out the door on the time. So breakfast lately have been a sea of protein shakes and apples. I am starting to get tired of having shakes every morning. I contemplated smoothies but they felt like the same thing. Fortunately my boyfriend branched into the culinary world, with protein bars (with the exact same motivations) and has been patiently perfecting them for months.

Aaraf's "protocol" for his protein brownies

Aaraf’s “protocol” for his protein brownies

I took his recipe and tweeked it to the flavour and consistency I wanted but man are these bars are delicious and nutritious. Dates, bananas, and maple syrup give moisture and sweetness without fat and sugar. Carob chips and dried banana chips add a sweet surprise! I used carob chips because it seemed to be the buzz word and they are lower in calories and higher in protein. This was my first time using them and It is definitely a unique taste, feel free to use chocolate chips if that is more your style, just be aware that it alters the protein and calorie content. At first I wasn’t really sure how I felt about them, but they have really grown on me! With peanut butter, Greek yogurt, chia seeds, and protein powder, these are sure to keep you full all morning (29.5g of protein)! And I promise – they are beyond easy!IMG_20150222_155902

I used whey powder in these, which may surprise you because it is prone to making things dense and chewy but I promise you these bars are neither of those! The key is in your leavening agent – it is very important to use powder not soda. When cooking with dutch processed cocoa (such as the Fry’s cocoa used in this recipe), it is best to use powder, otherwise, use soda!

omnomnom protein. Chocolate-y cake-y delicious protein.

omnomnom protein. Chocolate-y cake-y delicious protein.

So hallelujah between the Glo Bars and these sweet treats – my mornings have been saved. (As an added bonus the new stove came in yesterday!!! It is beautiful.)

Please ignore my gross kitchen. It is pretty awful.

Please ignore my gross kitchen. It is pretty awful. 

Ingredients:

  • 6 scoops protein powder (I used chocolate flavoured whey)
  • 1/3 cup quick cooking oats
  • 1/2 cup cocao powder (Dutch press like Fry’s)
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 8 dates (pitted, soak in water to rehydrate)
  • 2 large bananas, very ripe, mashed (about 1 c.)
  • 1/2 cup nut butter (I used peanut butter, all natural)
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup
  • 1 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 3/4 cup plain greek yogurt (I used 0%)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup chia seeds
  • 1/4 cup carob chips
  • 1/4 cup banana chips, crumbled

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350F.
  2. Combine the protein powder, oats, cocoa powder, salt, and baking powder in a bowl.
  3. Puree the dates and bananas together. Add peanut butter and maple syrup and blend until combined. Add milk and Greek yogurt and beat well. Add eggs and beat for a minute.
  4. Fold in chia seeds and then add the dry mixture. Mix until just combined, being careful to not over-mix. Gently fold in banana and carob chips.
  5. Pour mixture in a lined or lightly greased pan and bake for 35-45 minutes.

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